North Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Posted by Community Relations Department on 9/26/2012

Diana Muller and Christopher Dendy were named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program.  

Muller and Dendy qualified as semifinalists by being among the highest-scoring entrants in Arizona in the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT.)  Both students are in North’s International Baccalaureate Program.  

The 16,000 semifinalists this year represent less than one percent of the 1.5 million juniors from over 22,000 high schools who take the PSAT.  National Merit Finalists are highly coveted as prospective students to every college and university in the country, and the designation often leads to academic scholarships. 

Muller is on track to be North’s valedictorian, ranked #1 in the Class of 2013.  Muller has been involved in theater, was the president and founder of the school’s mock trial team, and plays on the Mustang tennis team, but her strengths lie in math and science.  Her interest was further piqued working in a neuroscience lab at ASU last summer, performing immunohistochemistry on rat brains as a research assistant.  Muller says the role of the brain on human function is fascinating to her, and she hopes to continue lab research in college.  She wants to be in the science/medical field, majoring in biochemistry or neuroscience.  She is considering the Barrett Honors College at ASU, University of California-Berkeley or University of California-San Diego.  Her brother Ryan was a National Merit Scholar finalist at North in 2011. 

Dendy lists history as his favorite subject and he would like to enter a career in civil administration or politics.  He describes himself as socially-minded and committed to pursuing the greater good in an effort to help society and those around him.  Dendy was a member of the National Honors Society, and active with North’s Family of Leaders (NFL) a teambuilding and tolerance camp.  He was also a National Laureate Le Grand Concours winner for three years as a French student and he hopes to continue to study French in college.  He is interested in several universities, including the Claremont Consortium (Claremont McKenna, Pomona College) and its Politics, Economics and Psychology major.  He is also considering Swathmore College near Philadelphia, the University of Chicago, Cornell and the Barrett Honors College at ASU.

About 90% of semifinalists become finalists, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC.)   Phoenix Union had three semifinalists last year, including two from North, and four more National Merit Commended students from North. Since 1990, North High has had 92 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists and finalists and 109 Commended students.  This year’s Commended students have not yet been announced.